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The best superfoods to eat for a luscious mane

There’s no time like the present to engage in a little self love and self care.

You’ve been busting out the face masks and doubling up on the vitamin Cs, so we think it’s only right to take this indulgence a step further by giving your hair a little more TLC than the usual shampoo and conditioner routine. 

Like skin, your hair needs just as much care, and we’re not talking a bi-annual visit to the salon. The easiest way is through the food you eat. Environmental exposure and even stress can easily impact the way your hair grows or looks, and while you can mask unruly hair with a pricey hair serum, it’s sometimes best to work from the inside out, starting with these superfoods.

You can thank us later.

[Featured Image Credit: Averie Woodard/Unsplash]

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

Jump To / Table of Contents

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Green tea

It’s been the beverage of choice for geishas over centuries for a reason. Easily the healthiest drink on the planet, green tea is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients which do wonders for not just your mind and body, but also your hair. 

EGCG, a type of catechin and natural phenol that’s found in green tea, is particularly helpful in protecting your tresses by reducing dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels — a hormone responsible for hair loss — while simultaneously strengthening hair roots and encouraging regrowth. 

The generous presence of essential compounds such as carotenoids, zinc, selenium, and ascorbic acid are also integral in keeping hair healthier for longer — all the more reason to brew yourself a tall mug now.

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We can’t say enough about how almonds are one of the best snacks — or ingredients — you could ever incorporate into your daily life, but just to drive the message across here’s one more reason. Because they’re rich in fatty acids, almonds help improve the tensile strength and texture of hair. As nature’s anti-stress mineral, magnesium also prevents stress-induced hair fall and promotes follicle hair growth instead, which means thicker hair in no time.

If you plan on going all out, almond oil is great topical option if you want to improve shine and strengthen roots. 

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Chia seeds

These tiny seeds are more than a garnish for your acai bowls, they also happen to be rich in everything your hair needs to be lustrous.

Chia seeds are made up of almost 23 percent protein, which is exactly what your hair is made of. Its rich omega-3 fatty acids content promotes faster growth, while copper, zinc, and iron within can inhibit the production of melanin so you don’t have to cope with greys for (hopefully) as long as humanly possible. Manganese might not be as well known a nutrient, but it helps your body use other essential nutrients such as the B7 vitamin (biotin) that’s integral in stimulating healthy hair growth. 

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Whole grains

We’ve preached endlessly about the negative long-term effects of refined carbs, but here’s yet another reason why you’ll want to opt for whole grains instead. These less-processed options, such as buckwheat, oats, or brown rice will not only score you bonus points in the overall health department, but also amp up your zinc, iron, and B vitamins (including biotin) count for healthier locks.

The lack of complex carbohydrates can result in your body turning stored proteins, like muscle, into energy. Because hair is a non-essential tissue, its needs are not prioritised, resulting in either dull locks or hair loss in the long run. 

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If the Okinawans are into it, so are we. Seaweed (or “wakame’ as the locals call it) have been a staple in Asian meals for centuries now. As a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, the marine plant deliver the right nutrients to hair follicles to stimulate growth, while improving blood circulation in the scalp.

If your hair’s already damaged from heat styling, bleaching, or environmental stress, consuming seaweed over a period of time might help restore a youthful shine to your distressed locks. Besides, we couldn’t think of a better way to spruce up a meal at home than with this savoury amino acid- and antioxidant-packed superfood.

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Popeye’s favourite snack is more than a protein and antioxidant powerhouse, it’s also full of everything your hair needs to be in better shape. Besides being a good source of vitamins B ,C, and E — which increase collagen and keratin levels — the greens are also loaded with iron, magnesium, and folate, all essential minerals for growth and to combat hair loss. Its rich iron content also increases the supply of oxygen to the follicles, ensuring that they stay healthy at all times. 

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